Skip over navigation

6. Posting of Content

6.1 General Content Guidelines

Content should be posted with the understanding that it may be redistributed through the Internet and other media channels and may be viewed by the general public. If deleted or modified, older versions may continue to exist online. Content should not be posted unless it furthers the University’s education, teaching or research mission. Share only information that is appropriate for the public.

In order to avoid discrepancies and minimize the need for updating, social media platforms should not be used to post detailed policy or procedural information, e.g., program admission criteria. Rather, users should be directed to official University websites, electronic resources or publications for such information.

Content directed at individual fans or page users should be written in a respectful manner. Content should never be written in a manner that can be interpreted as combative, demeaning or otherwise negative.

Generally speaking, content should not be posted if it depicts a dangerous activity unless discussed with and approved by appropriate senior University administrators. A legal disclaimer may be required for such posts.

Do not post content that shows (or may be perceived to show) someone getting hurt, attacked or humiliated; that might be considered racist, bigoted or demeaning to a particular group of individuals; that depicts activity that is (or may be perceived to be) illegal, such as drug use; or that could otherwise show the account holder or the University in a negative light.

If controversial content is related to academic study, ensure that appropriate context and disclaimers are provided. Also package the content in a manner that does not make it easy to reuse without the appropriate context.

Content should not be posted unless it is clearly suitable for all ages.

back to top

6.2 Personal vs. Public Persona

In general, administrators should post on affiliated social media platforms only in the name of that unit. For example, John Doe, who administers the Princeton University page on Facebook should not appear as a commenter on the Princeton University page on Facebook. This maintains the privacy of individuals who are administrators of University social media, and also preserves the consistency of the unit's voice online.

The exception to this policy is when a unit director or a faculty member must establish a specific Facebook presence to speak on behalf of the unit or the University. Such examples might include University President Shirley M. Tilghman, the director of the Princeton University Art Museum or the coaches of Princeton University sports teams. In these cases, it is necessary to create a "Public Figure" account that is administered by the public figure and the administrators involved in the unit's other social media pages. This public account should speak only in the voice of the public figure's role. For instance, a museum director's public account wouldn't discuss personal plans or his or her personal activities, but it would discuss a grant or a museum event.

back to top

6.3 Confidential and Proprietary Information

Do not post confidential or proprietary information about Princeton University or its students, employees or alumni. Employees must follow the applicable federal requirements outlined in FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), as well as NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) regulations.

Generally, the University must have written permission from a student in order to release any information from a student's records.

Do not include personally identifiable information that can be used to locate any individual without that person's written permission. This includes an individual’s screen name, personal photo, hobbies, identification numbers — such as Social Security numbers or student ID's — addresses and phone numbers (other than an authorized business address or business phone number).

Do not upload, post, transmit, share, store or otherwise make publicly available on a social media site any private information of any affiliated or unaffiliated third party, including addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, Social Security numbers and credit card numbers.

University units should not use social media platforms to collect personal information of users, as most sites' terms and conditions, as well as state and federal law, impose significant requirements and restrictions on the collection of personal information of users. In the case of minors, significant additional penalties can apply to violations. For more detailed information, review the University's information technology policies.

Do not post content that could create a security risk for the account holder or the University. Examples include but are not limited to images of restricted access research areas and information technology facilities.

Employees who share confidential information without appropriate authorization do so at the risk of disciplinary action or termination. For more information, visit the University's Human Resources website.

back to top

6.4 Use of University Marks

Accounts and pages should, where possible, feature the unit's official name, logo and/or signature. Units also are encouraged to use photographs to display campus beauty. When a social media platform allows changes to layout or design, official University colors should be used. Note that the University colors are orange and black; secondary colors include white and gray.

Note that use of University marks, such as logos and graphics, should comply with University policy. For information about colors, typeface, size and other details, please visit

back to top

6.5 Use of Copyrighted or Proprietary Materials

Rights and permissions must be secured before posting, sharing or distributing copyrighted materials, including but not limited to: music, art, copyrighted photographs or texts, portions of copyrighted video, or information considered proprietary by a University partner, vendor, affiliate or contractor.

Secure written permission prior to using/incorporating any copyrighted or proprietary materials except when such material is covered under Fair Use provisions.

Fair Use allows for the use of copyrighted material if it meets some or all of the following requirements: It’s a work that is mostly factual; it is being used to serve a significantly different purpose than it’s original purpose; and it has been changed significantly from its original appearance. For more information, visit the Princeton University Office of General Counsel's website outlining fair use.

Questions regarding the appropriateness of a posting can be directed to the social media coordinator in the Office of Communications at

back to top

6.6. Use of Identifying Images

In most cases, prior permission (i.e. a release) must be obtained to post, share or distribute images of individuals whose images are identifiable. For that reason, it is always best to use content, such as photographs or videos, obtained by University representatives specifically for the purpose of posting or distribution. For assistance with release forms, e-mail the social media coordinator in the Office of Communications at

Do not post content that might be embarrassing to an individual or that could be construed as placing an individual in a negative or false light.

Do not post content that might cause someone to believe that his/her name, image, likeness or other identifying aspect of his/her identity is being used, without permission, for commercial purposes.

Special care must always be taken when dealing with images of "special populations," e.g., minors, health care patients or research subjects. Stringent legal requirements apply. Generally speaking, such images should not be used for social media posting or distribution.

back to top

6.7. Commercial use, e.g., sales of merchandise

Endorsing commercial products or services is not permitted. The provision of online services or the sale of University publications, products or paraphernalia via "e-commerce" is permitted only in accordance with University policies and procedures.

back to top

6.8. Political campaigning

Because of the University's non-profit status, there are prohibitions against using University resources to support individual candidates or parties in a political campaign.

back to top